<p>Photo: Surfboat racing</p>

Surfboat racing is a popular sport in Australia, with local competitions in each state culminating in a national event.

Photograph by Robin Smith/Getty Images

Art Gallery of New South Wales
“Australia’s most comprehensive collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.”—Anne Matthews, author, Fodor’s Sydney’s 25 Best. Fine art museum on the grassy Domain, east of downtown. Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney; tel. 61 2 9225 1744. www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au

Bondi Beach
Sun, sand, and surf at Sydney’s world-famous beach (always swim between the flags). The bars, restaurants, and surf shops along Campbell Parade are also worth exploring. Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bondi Beach; tel. 61 2 8362 3406. www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/things_to_do/beaches_and_the_coast/bondi_beach

Darling Harbour
Eternally popular tourist hub adjacent to the city center: maritime museum, aquarium, wildlife park, bars, restaurants, shops, harbor tour operators, street performers, and an IMAX cinema. Darling Harbour; tel. 61 2 9240 8788. www.darlingharbour.com

The Rocks
Site of Sydney’s first European settlement, between Circular Quay and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Heavily touristed but historically engaging, with great pubs, galleries, and weekend street market. The Rocks; tel. 61 2 9240 8788. www.therocks.com

Royal Botanic Gardens
“Find a shady spot and enjoy postcard-perfect views.”—Peter Dragicevich, author, Lonely Planet’s Sydney City Guide. An antidote to Sydney’s downtown hustle: trees, ponds, lawns, and flowers. Joggers pound the harborside pathways. Mrs. Macquaries Road; tel. 61 2 9231 8111. www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au

Sydney Aquarium
“As close to a grey nurse shark as you’d want to get!”—Meg Worby editor, Lonely Planet’s Sydney Encounter and Sydney & New South Wales guidebooks. Sharks swim above underwater acrylic glass visitor viewing tunnels stretching 525 feet (160 meters); more than 12,000 Australian sea creatures. Long lines, so visit early. Aquarium Pier, Darling Harbour; tel. 61 2 8251 7800; fee. www.sydneyaquarium.com.au

BridgeClimb, Sydney Harbour Bridge
The BridgeClimb over the beloved “coat hanger” is unforgettable. Tip: “If you can’t afford the climb, walk or cycle across instead—views from a car are limited.”—Meg Worby. 5 Cumberland Street, The Rocks; tel. 61 2 8274 7777; fee. www.bridgeclimb.com

Sydney Opera House
“Epitomizes the free-spirited nature of this young and vibrant harbor city.”—Anne Matthews. The Opera House is Sydney’s essential highlight, and Australia’s most recognizable icon. Guided tours daily. Bennelong Point, Circular Quay East; tel. 61 2 9250 7111; fee. www.sydneyoperahouse.com

Sydney Tower & Skywalk
“The 360-degree views are incredible.”—Anne Matthews. Unravel Sydney’s complex geography from atop this 820-foot-high (250-meter-high) observation deck. “Skywalk” takes you onto glass-floored outdoor viewing platforms. 100 Market Street; tel. 61 2 9333 9222; fee. www.sydneytower.com.au

Sydney WildlifeWorld
The newest of Darling Harbour’s big-ticket attractions. Wallabies, birds, koalas, and reptiles live in meticulously constructed natural environments; guided tours and feedings throughout the day. Aquarium Pier, Darling Harbour; tel. 61 2 9333 9288; fee. www.sydneywildlifeworld.com.au


About Sydney and Australia

  • <p>Photo: The harborfront</p>


    Get travel tips, see photos, take a quiz and more with National Geographic's Ultimate Guide to Sydney.

  • <p>Photo: Ayers Rock</p>


    Explore Australia through facts and photos, related features, a country map, and more.

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